1 of 10 portraits by Thomas Kerrich
- Extended Catalogue Entry
by Thomas Kerrich
17 in. x 11 3/4 in. (433 mm x 300 mm) uneven
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 2000
Sitterback to top
- Thomas Kerrich (1748-1828), Cambridge University Librarian, antiquary and draughtsman. Sitter in 2 portraits, Artist associated with 10 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Thomas Kerrich (1748-1828), Cambridge University Librarian, antiquary and draughtsman. Artist associated with 10 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Drawing was popular among amateur artists. Sons of the gentry drew to improve their artistic judgement while for impoverished sons of clergymen, like the antiquarian Thomas Kerrich, it offered a possible career. Kerrich's childhood drawings were praised by William Hogarth but he was discouraged from taking up painting professionally and instead became Librarian at Cambridge University Library. His talent is clear from this strikingly unorthodox self-portrait. It was drawn in Italy when Kerrich was visiting Europe on a travel scholarship from the university between 1771 and 1774.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 308
- Rideal, Liz, Insights: Self-portraits, 2005, p. 20 Read entry
A cleric and antiquary, Kerrich gained a scholarship to Italy where he made this work. Unlike Bratby’s self-portrait, this image appears timeless. The unusual pose produces a powerfully theatrical and rather ‘modern’ effect. Transfixing the viewer with his gaze, Kerrich holds us in the present tense, seeming to defy death.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 352
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Art of Drawing: Portraits from the Collection, 1670-1780 (19 October 2012 - 19 May 2013)
- Late Eighteenth Century Prints and Drawings (17 April 2004 - 5 September 2004)
Events of 1774back to top
Current affairsPhilanthropist and reformer John Howard is called before the House of Commons Select Committee to give evidence on the shocking conditions in prisons across the country.
Young Tahitian Omai arrives in England after making contact with Captain James Cook on his second voyage. He is introduced into London Society by Joseph Banks and is much admired.
Coercive or 'Intolerable' Acts are passed in response to the crisis in the American colonies.
Art and sciencePhilosopher and chemist Joseph Priestley isolates oxygen in the form of a gas.
Artist Thomas Gainsborough moves from Bath to set up a studio in London.
Royal Crescent, Bath, designed by John Wood the Younger, is completed.
Methodist preacher John Wesley publishes his pamphlet Thoughts Upon Slavery which argues against slavery.
InternationalJohann Wolfgang von Goethe publishes his romantic novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, bringing him an immediate European reputation.
In retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, the port of Boston is closed under the first of the British government's Coercive Acts. Delegates from twelve American colonies meet in Philadelphia and agree not to import any goods from Britain.
Death of Louis XV of France. Louis XVI succeeds.